Surf Lifeguard Award

Course Overview

The Surf Lifeguard Award certifies that the holder has the basic skills and knowledge to be a Surf Lifeguard.
This is the entry level qualification for members to be a patrolling member.

The Surf Lifeguard Award is the first step on the Surf Life Saving New Zealand lifeguard pathway.

Course Information 

Pre requistes

14 years of age | Current member of a SLS club


Variable depending on competence and instruction structure 2-8 weeks

Delivered by

Surf Life Saving club instructors, examined by local examiners

Who should complete it

Anyone interested in getting started as a Surf Lifeguard

Candidate requirements

Complete all tests, practical tasks and theory successfully

Exam components

400 metre swim in under 9 minutes
Tube Rescue (Pool)
Theory Paper 80% correct
First Aid

Releases and Tows
Tube Rescue

Topics covered

1. Introduction and risk management

2. The physical environment

3. CPR

4. First Aid

5. Roles and responsibilities

6. Surf Lifeguard skills and knowledge

7. Communication



At the completion of the qualification candidates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of health and safety issues relevant to Surf Life Saving members
  2. Describe the features of the surf environment
  3. Identify and describe the roles and responsibilities of a Surf Lifeguard
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of effective communication
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of effective scanning techniques and victim identification
  6. Perform retrieval of underwater objects
  7. Perform releases and tows in an aquatic environment
  8. Demonstrate Surf Life Saving signal communication and demonstrate knowledge of graphic communication
  9. Communicate using a two-way radio
  10. Perform a tube rescue
  11. Provide resuscitation (no unit standards)
  12. Provide first aid (no unit standards)

To begin training for this qualification contact your club 

Online Resources

Surf Lifeguard Award Training Manual

Once candidates have completed their Surf Lifeguard Award the training manual should be kept by them as reference. Hard copies of this manual can be purchased from SLSNZ. 
Online Download:  Surf Lifeguard Award Training Manual (pdf, 9MB) (updated September 2017)

Surf Lifeguard Award Candidate Workbook

For every manual purchased a Surf Lifeguard Award Candidate Workbook will be supplied.  All candidates training towards their Surf Lifeguard Award must complete this workbook.  
Online Download:  Surf Lifeguard Award Candidate Workbook (pdf, 5MB) (updated September 2017)